Thursday, 25 May 2017

Album Review: FLOVER - Dark & Sweet

FloveR - Dark & Sweet

01. Cruel Romance
02. R.V.P.II (Kiss Your Lips)
03. Lovekiller
04. Crystal Love
05. Serpent Poison
06. Violet Roses
07. She's Alone
08. Charms Of The Reaper
09. Ways To Your Heart
10. Your Love Is Gone

FloveR is an unsigned band with members from Russia and Italy. According to their website, the band members have never actually met in person which is a little strange to me, but then again, if you live somewhere as remote as Tyumen in Siberia, finding likeminded musicians locally must be almost impossible. So credit to them, they've found each other on the internet and have made an album together.

The members of FloveR make no secret of the fact that they're all massive HIM fans, and their songs sound so much like HIM, they could be mistaken for a tribute band. Even lead singer Fabio Phobos Storm is doing a great job at singing as closely to the style of Ville Valo as is humanly possible. This is nothing short of total hero worship.

Having said that, they're actually pretty good. Their songs are well constructed and they have some catchy singles including Violet Roses and Charms of the Reaper. They're definitely a talented bunch, and if they develop their own sound and identity a little more, I could see them being picked up by a label and becoming major players on the Gothic Rock scene.

Their album is available to stream and buy on their Bandcamp page, so give it a listen.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Album Review: PARAMORE - After Laughter

Paramore - After Laughter

01. Hard Times
02. Rose-Colored Boy
03. Told You So
04. Forgiveness
05. Fake Happy
06. 26
07. Pool
08. Grudges
09. Caught In The Middle
10. Idle Worship
11. No Friend
12. Tell Me How

Success is often the curse of young bands, especially the ones where the lead singer is widely regarded as 'the talent', and the band is managed by his/her parents. In this scenario, the other musicians usually end up as salaried staff and the band effectively becomes the singer's solo project and corporation, resulting in original band members quitting and suing each other. This sorry tale has applied to many bands over the years, and now, to my understanding, this also includes Paramore.

It was never going to end well. We've had walkouts, and the band was reduced to a three piece for the last studio album. They're a trio this time round too, except the bassist has quit and the original drummer Zac Farro has rejoined. Let's not forget it was Zac's own brother Josh who quit at the same time as Zac a few years ago. Confused? Me too.

Inter-band drama and politics aside, the important question from a fan point of view is "Is the new record any good?"

I heard the lead single Hard Times before the album came out. It seems like a natural progression from the Pop of the previous record, sounding like a modern take on 80's New Wave, cleverly weaving the vintage with the contemporary. Hard Times is one of those tracks that you hear once and instantly love. It's very dance-floor friendly and has massive cross-over potential. Unsurprisingly, it's already a huge hit single.

Now I've heard the whole record, I can see how it's polarised existing fans. The Heavy Rock guitars have completely gone and After Laughter is more of an 80's Pop album than a Rock album. I'm sure many cynics will cite the departure of original members as the reason for this fairly drastic change in direction, and will see Paramore as simply a popular brand and vehicle used to carry singer Hayley Williams' career further into mainstream territories. Maybe they'd be right?  Either way, as far as 80's Pop albums go, this is a pretty good one. Hard Times is easily the best song on here, but there are some other bangers on here too such as Told You So, Pool, Caught In The Middle and Rose-Colored Boy.

All in all, After Laughter is pretty good. It's not the best Paramore album, in fact it's probably the worst. However, it is what it is, and I believe its detractors may view it less harshly in the future, depending on what direction Paramore takes after this. It's kinda like expecting a steak for dinner but finding out that you're getting ice cream instead.You can either moan about the absence of steak, or appreciate the ice cream and enjoy it.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Album Review: ADRENALINE RUSH - Soul Survivor

Adrenaline Rush - Soul Survivor

01. Adrenaline
02. Love Like Poison
03. Breaking The Chains
04. Soul Survivor
05. Stand My Ground
06. My Life
07. Break The Silence
08. Sinner
09. Shock Me
10. Wild Side
11. Don't Wake Me Up
12. Crash
13. Soul Survivor (Acoustic Version) [Bonus Track]

Soul Survivor is the second album from this Swedish Hard Rock band, and shows them taking a slightly more heavy and aggressive path from their debut. Other than that, it's business as usual.

If you haven't heard them before, think of the flurry of Glam/Sleaze/Hard Rock albums that came out in the very early 90's, just before the music industry annihilated the entire genre in favour of the Grunge movement. Think the first Vince Neil Album, Firehouse, The Scream, 'Revenge' era Kiss etc. Now replace the male 'Rawk' vocals with a female Pop vocal, and that's pretty much the sound of Adrenaline Rush. Fortunately, it works really well, and they have a sound that is very familiar, yet a little different, which sets them apart from other acts in the scene. Having a ridiculously hot lead singer clearly won't hinder their career either.

Adrenaline Rush have some seriously catchy songs that would have been hit singles back in the 80's such as the Rocking Crash and the sleazy Don't Wake Me Up which wouldn't sound out of place on an Aerosmith album or Poison's underrated Native Tongue. Even the title track hits the spot with its 80's 'Rock ballad meets The Bangles' vibe.

Soul Survivor is an entertaining listen from start to finish. If I'm brutally honest, the music is fairly generic and doesn't really offer anything new or innovative to the world of Rock 'n' Roll. Don't get me wrong though, it's still awesome! It's great Rock music played with precision and is beautifully produced. It's just all been done many times before. However, sometimes it's nice to listen to something that makes you feel nostalgic, and the glorious Pop vocals of Tave Wanning give it a freshness that prevent Adrenaline Rush from sounding too dated. I'm sure that the vocal style will upset many purists who can't stand bands that don't sound exactly the same as everything they already like, but to my ears the Pop and Rock styles complement each other wonderfully.

All they need now is a tour with Crazy Lixx and Reckless Love. Well, I'd buy a ticket!

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